TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Don Appleton has had an interesting life. It’s true, he said it himself.
From partying with Louis Armstrong at his New York jazz club to fighting on the front lines in the Vietnam War, the 80-year-old said he has a lot to be thankful for.
As a resident at the Life Care Center of Tucson, he’s not alone.
Appleton and other residents at the facility reflect on their lives and what they’re most grateful for during the holiday season.
For Appleton, it’s the last 42 years of marriage to his wife. But most of all, he’s thankful to be alive after fighting in Vietnam.
“I am lucky to be alive,” he said. “I can’t say too much about it, but I had a lot of dealing in (Vietnam), behind the lines and doing my missions. That’s all I can really say about it.”
After celebrating their first marriage anniversary, Debbie and JR Bromley are thankful for the place that brought them together.
The couple is the first marriage between two residents in Life Care’s history.
“I’m thankful for the things I’m able to do and now my husband,” Debbie said.
The same goes for Rosalie Furtado. Now living at the Life Care Center, before she moved to Tucson, Furtado spent much of her life in California.
This Thanksgiving, she remembers her career as a business owner and how that shaped her life.
“We had two big beauty salons in Yorba Linda, California,” Furtado said. “That’s a happy place, where women are going in, getting their hair done, they’re happy. We had great clientele and that was a great time in my life.”
As Lori Ludwig looks back on her life, she’s most thankful for her education.
At times, finishing her degree wasn’t always something other people thought she could do.
“We didn’t always have much” she said. “So just being able to get through college, when, I think, probably a lot of people would’ve looked at me and thought ‘no, not going to happen.’”
For Fran Thornton, family played a big role in who she is today.
“I’m thankful for my parents, they were terrific and raised us properly,” she said.
Though she has plenty to be thankful for, much of Thornton’s gratitude is centered on where she is now.
“I’m grateful that I live here and will probably die here,” she said.
With their lives scattered throughout the country they each had unique life experiences, but one thing ties them together -- theses seniors can look back and recall poignant moments they’re grateful for.